High School Cheerleader's After-Hours Snapchat Upheld as Free-Speech

Brandi Levy

By Hannah Claire Brimelow

A former high school cheerleader’s expletive filled rant on popular app Snapchat has altered the state of free speech in America.

The Supreme Court ruling on June 23rd, 2021 marked the first time the nation’s highest court has made a decision pertaining to speech online.

Mahanoy vs B.L will join other notorious cases, such as Tinker vs Des Moines and Morse vs Frederick, that marked clear changes in the public understanding of students’ rights to Free Speech. 

“The court held that high school student Brandi Levy was unconstitutionally disciplined by Mahanoy Area High School in Pennsylvania after she posted a profanity-laced Snapchat rant when she failed to make the varsity cheer squad, proclaiming “f— school f— softball f— cheer f— everything,” reports the South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Questions regarding what type of language are worth protecting, as well as where a school’s authority begins and ends in regards to the private activities of its students were at the heart of this case.

In his majority opinion, Justice Stephen Breyer wrote “It might be tempting to dismiss B. L.’s words as unworthy of the robust First Amendment protections discussed herein. But sometimes it is necessary to protect the superfluous in order to preserve the necessary.”

Engadget’s K. Bell reports “In its decision, the Supreme Court left open questions about exactly how social media affects how those lines should be drawn. The ruling made more of the fact that the speech took place off-campus and not during a school function, rather than how the comments were made. Though in a separate, concurring opinion, Justice Samuel Alito noted that a school would have authority over what students say while participating in online learning or other “online school activities.”

Clare Norins, the director of University of Georgia School of Law’s First Amendment Clinic and an assistant clinical professor, echoes this uncertainty saying “the decision leaves students and their parents in limbo as to when, exactly, schools can reach into their homes, their personal social media, or their leisure activities to punish young people for what they say.”

Brandi Levy was 14 years-old when she filmed her tirade at a convenience store off campus after she did not make the varsity cheerleading squad. Although Snapchat message only last for 24 hours, a screenshot of the post was shown to one of her coaches. She was suspended from the team for a year. The ACLU supported Levy and her parent’s legal battle. 

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15 responses to “High School Cheerleader’s After-Hours Snapchat Upheld as Free-Speech”

  1. ADuncan says:

    I did four years of NCAA cross country and track at an institution that actively screened and viewed every post on social media by athletes on their person accounts. Having to sit out meets/games was the typical threat but it was normal for athletes to get dismissed for the remainder of the season for not removing a post with a bottle in the background or venting about the staff or team. This is a good ruling, I’m sick of colleges thinking they’re above the Bill of Rights.

  2. Chinook says:

    The fact that this had to go to the supreme court is ridiculous.

  3. Goldwolf says:


  4. Masshole says:

    Nobody reads this much in comments sections. stop writing.

  5. KDiddy says:

    Trying to reply to my own comment. Hopefully this message comes through. Obie won, there are too many mistakes in the last comment and no edit option weigh was or only hope… I won’t bother repeating everything. Decypher it you cryptomaniacs. There is another story, of Kyleke’s rebellion that I must, must tell. It starts with me Kyle, no Keke yet (KEKE comes later and prefers KEKEKAROO, but we combined and I came first, just FYI don’t forget), at CSU, in the heart of an Obama rally. I had an appt to get my yearly haircut. This was a big thing. It just so happened, that it coincided with B’s visit in 2013? I was just a lowly math student at the time, traversing my way from Lori student center to college st through the oval, or just south of. Mandela…

    That’s when, All offasuddin, a police officer spotted me and asked me “what the fuck are you doing.” I said, “do you see this hair?” She said “this is a college campus, you are a hairy person” or something to that effect. I said “yes ma’am I am, but I’m also on a mission” and she said “now hold it right there, what kind of mission?” And I said well it’s not for any religious purpose, but I have to get my hair cut today.” She said “you shall not pass” and I said “look, butch, it’s just the bus stop over there, it takes me right down the street to my stylist.” She said “ha, stylist” as she eyed my forty pound back pack, full of hard math equation books and I eyed her forty pound vest, full of plates which were at the very least sized using mathematics, “What way can I go then?” I exclaimed drastically presenting my urgency to get moving as I could tell her silence was an obvious lapse in reasoning, in which I had to fill. After wispering some hush hush on the radio she said “you can go down this street, stay to the right, and then you can cross over at, laurel?” (I think it was laurel). I looked at her, down to her vest and further to the utility belt and then back to to her, said “thanks.” Friggin hoofed it down the road with a huge pack swaying back and forth, made it to laurel st, then had a dude with a megaphone and three other cops start marching at me screaming “STOP! where do you think you’re gong?” In my head I’m thinking, backstabbing whore! She didn’t get on the radio at all, she just gave me shit directions and put me in harms way with these trigger happy bafoons! And so I stopped, threw my hands up high, in front of a bunch of folks who were all chilling, sitting in multicolored lawn chair, in between buildings just to hear the guy speak… bus stop in sight, I yelled back, “just trying to get my fucking hair cut… I was told I could go this way.” pointing both to the mop on my head and the bus stop in sight. They shouted back “yeah sure buddy, just stay with the crowd, to the right.” So I rested my arms down, pointed to where I was newly headed and began my plan to call great clips and cancel my appt with my stylist. That’s when, alluffanuthamuthasuddin I heard “you rebel! ” bellow out from a great haired man in the crowd. I turned, smiled and laughed to the person and others sitting nearby and couldn’t help but think, how did you know exactly who I am!? I’m really just fresh out of class, didn’t know there was an Obama rally, needed this mop done up right for an interview with a tutor service, Nicegrade, and had been misdirected by a lady cop whom I trusted more than my mother! It is insane that we leave our security to a bunch of knuckleheads who don’t even coordinate well! If only I could’ve crossed that grassy knole to the bus stop, I would not have had to reschedule that haircut. Instead, I shamefully canceled my appt while I walked a mile back to my shit appt where I rolled a joint, cracked a mickeys and listened to dmx with my roommate. It’s interesting to know your life is in the hands of people who are barely able to keep you safe from themselves. It really is

  6. KDiddy says:

    As a fellow rebel, fuck yeah! Listen to this: I became the first example of after-school detention labor when, in elementary school, I broke a window by trying to throw a rock into a basketball hoop from the playground. I misjudged it, and ran. Let’s just say I was had by an accomplice. It was the window to the art room, where I used to eat the cottage cheese looking glue when the teacher wasn’t looking. It was good! Don’t judge, find forgiveness in your hearts. Anyways, I had to sweep rocks after school for two months after everyone got out of class. These kids would barge out of the front, grades 1 to 5, and stomp all over the rocks around the trees spreading those rocks all over the fucking concrete walkway and not even using the walkway! and guess who swept them back in? The janitor of course! Until I broke that window, haha! Can’t believe I’m telling you this. Anyways, that was a fun two whateverz Weeks or Months. I think it got extended. I used to pinch myself while getting reemed by the princi-pal, we’ll can him CC, so as not to laugh about what I had done. I’d have little bruises on my leg from how hard I’d pinch myself to keep myself from smiling. I figured he couldn’t see past his big desk. Lol, don’t get me wrong. If you think I didn’t, well, I deserved it. This is where I wanted to get to. The last day of my 5th grade year, we ask received blank white t-shirts and the tradition was to have everyone in your class and in others sign it. So I’m out at lunch walking around, trying not get in trouble, or caught, you know. And I’m sitting on the grass and my buddy comes up behind me and theirs something at me or said something I can’t recall exactly but I say back, “hey Chris, come sign my shitty shirt” because I’m thinking fuck this place and its shitty, “let’s have Kyle sweep rocks” and then start a child labor tradition. Plus, it’s the last day I’ve literally got hours until no one is my problem. And here comes this fucking recess guard and she’s like “Kyle! Come with me.” Oh it was magical. My last day I’m in fuckheads office again, Craig Christopherson I believe, one last time… and he was so cool! He was like, “dude, really? LAST day huh?” I thought I was about to get held back a year. I said, without pinching myself, “it’s a shitty shirt and I just said it to my friend and I wanted him to sign it” and then he reasoned with me as more of an “adult” and we understood each other a little better. I am not proud of my behavior as a child, growing up as I did, but the last thing I wanted was to be held back by anger and animosity and misunderstanding.
    The thing is, it’s hard to trust adults when you’re in third grade, break both your left arm, radius and ulna, going after a basketball rebound, fresh accident, have your teacher first ignore you at first and tell you “Kyle in talking with these two girls now hold on” and then see you have a lighting bolt arm once the girls hooked their hands up to their faces when I reveal my arm, then calmly walk you to the nurses room where you sit for three fucking hours with two IBPROPHEN while they try to contact your mom, who is a school nurse coordinator at the school, on her fucking beeper while she’s deliverting flowers to a person who’s child had passed? What I was told. They couldn’t find out which hospital to take me to, so rather than call an ambulance, I say in the nurses office will past school closure. Finally, when I get there, the hospital I said I should go to, Avista, I have two teams of interns try to figure out how to get an IV in my swelled up arm to administer enough meds to make me numb and loopy. I remember, right before he snapped my lightning bolt arm back into place I asked him, “have you ever broken your arm before doctor?” He said “no.” I said “you should, so you would know what it feels like” everyone laughed, he did whatever he did to set it right and I passed out. I was casted up for the summer and that was the beginning of summer. So by the time I hit fifth grade I was pretty well aware of the systems flaws. I had a hard time until high-school. Ha until. Heck I see through most the shit. Let this rebel breathe! Don’t give her a pity spot but don’t push her out. She’s got to get in where she fit in.
    Controlling that is abusive. Let her get it out of her system in a healthy way. I took something from last night’s episode with Candace, if she’s pissed about not making the team, let her be pissed and get over it. It’s when those issues go unaddressed they don’t get resolved and people don’t learn to do any better. Hey, as much as I hated sweeping rocks under the supervision of bumbling fools, it built character. And I stole all the Calvin and Hobbs books from the library because I learned how things worked! hahaha!

  7. UppityG says:

    Brava! Thank you Hannah Claire Brimelow, welcome to the Timcast Empire. 😉 Straight reporting is what I crave. More, please.

  8. angrybadger92 says:

    Finally some good news. Glad the bill of rights still holds some water

  9. LeeHarvey says:

    It’s so damned refreshing to read a news article that is straight forward and fact based.

  10. VauxhallViva1975 says:

    It doesn’t suit the narrative – if she was kicked out of school or something like that, it would, and it would be all over the news, but a judge essentially saying she had the right to say what she did – well – that does not suit the current witch-hunting mass media.

  11. BigJoe77 says:

    Damn wish we had this kind of justice in the in the lower courts.


  12. jugs says:

    Justice Thomas was the single dissenting opinion, pretty interesting read if you have time.

  13. Rohanhub says:

    This is a big deal. This will help a ton with the culture war.

  14. MaineWolf says:

    @Race yeah this is good to see. 1st is 1st for a reason. “necessary to protect the superfluous in order to preserve the necessary.”

  15. Race says:

    Happy to see this. Surprised I’ve seen nothing about it elsewhere

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